This paper presents the details of an experimental study of arterial anastomosis, combining suture with the cyanoacrylate tissue adhesive. At the distal end of the vessel, two parallel incisions were made, 1800 apart from each other, and two sutures were placed passing from the proximal end to exit from the most distal part of the longitudinal incisions. The tissue adhesive was then applied to the proximal vessel, and the full-thickness vascular 'lid' flap was closed over it on anterior and posterior surfaces. Eighty anastomoses were carried out at the left and the right femoral arteries of 40 Wistar rats. For all of the animals, conventional end-to-end anastomosis was carried out on the left side, and the lid technique was used on the right side. There was no statistically significant difference between the patency rates of the groups (two non-patent in control and two in the study group) (P > 0.05), whereas significantly reduced operation time (mean 16.2 and 10.7 min in control and study groups, respectively) (P < 0.0001) and bleeding time (median 1.5 and 0.5 min in control and study groups, respectively) (P < 0.0001) were documented in the study group. Histopathological evaluation of both the patent and non-patent vessels at day 21 revealed no signs of tissue toxicity or intraluminal adhesive leakage. In view of these data, it was concluded that the technique provides an effective and simple method for end-to-end anastomosis of small-calibre arteries. (C) 2008 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.